1. Located or occurring farther inside: an inner room; an inner layer of warm clothing.
2. Less apparent; deeper: the inner meaning of a poem.
3. Of or relating to the mind or spirit: "Beethoven's manuscript looks like a bloody record of a tremendous inner battle" (Leonard Bernstein).
4. More exclusive, influential, or important: the inner circles of government.
[Middle English, from Old English innera; see en in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
inner·ly adv. & adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.